# Four
- 2014

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BETWEEN/ houses&squares

Universidad Complutense de Madrid


Each time we want to escape the taxonomic rigidity imposed by Western metaphysics we habitually and repeatedly resort to a series of figures: networks, constellations, deterritorialisation, folds, flows, Moebius strips, rhizomes… Although in this issue’s title the slash has been displaced from its normal position, (BETWEEN)/ houses&squares), its presence signals that dichotomous thinking is still very deeply rooted in us. In order to dissolve the system of oppositions brought about by the slash, Jacques Derrida long ago proposed making it liquid. [1] Fine. We can keep the figure of the liquid, but always when it is that viscous liquid secreted by some members of Arthropoda, which solidifies when it comes into contact with air, forming a series of very fine and fluid threads. That is to say, we have to insist on the articulation of a series of tensed and loose lines in a determined context. It is what is most needed now and what has been solicited for this issue: to talk about situated connections, not of the endless postponement in the sense of “between”. And of resonances and reverberations, of the effect that institutional experimentation and direct action have, to briefly summarise our concerns in the title around “houses” and “squares”.

Perhaps for this reason, when we proposed the relationship between houses/squares we were driven by a very recent, very pragmatic experience (non-elegant thinking, plumpes Denken, in Brecht’s words [2]). We use “houses” to return to spaces where critical artistic practices are presented, what remains of the white cube or the black box, the artistic “laboratories” as the traditional spaces of autonomous experimentation, in a certain sense the media labs too; in reality, everything that is “sheltered”, that is, funded by public money or private capital. We leave the squares as places still exposed to the elements, even if this sounds like an uncritical naturalisation. And this in a double sense. First of all, because we are immersed in a digitalisation of the world that organises times, bodies, spaces, and “non-funded” signs in a different manner; a technological tangle that not only directly deactivates the dichotomy of interior/exterior, but in which all the processes of subjectification are implied. Secondly, because, as has been demonstrated, general intellect is something more than what they made us believe, it is also a form of sensibility that drags action and theory with it and fulfils in another way its mission in the construction of the utopic (outside of capital), where the idea of constructing community is developed. In this sense, being exposed to the elements also means self-financing and self-management.

To sum up, that “between” – while a tangle of threads of a dispositif to be “untangled” (Deleuze [3]) – should operate in an active manner. That is, the imagination of artistic experimentalism (a poetic and political tool) weaves an entire system of isolated relationships with “another” imagination considered more radical because it is on the street. So that, given the way things are and seeing that the field in which we move is fundamentally plural and polemic, we thought it convenient that the journal should open itself up to specific modes from which to understand the proposed problem.

For this reason, it seemed fundamental for us to count on the contribution by
Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson, who were kind enough to let us have What lies between, a text specifically created for their film Facts of life, which was based on 18 hours of (raw) video of the courses Gilles Deleuze gave at the University of Vincennes in 1975-1976, “ an authentic political, subversive laboratory in which the institutional codes, the relationships of power, and the customary practices of transmission were, if not revoked, at least destabilised”. [4]

Among the articles making up the issue, Miriam Valero
(Missing Jennifer. From image-object to digital product) considers that in the post-Internet era it no longer makes sense – and perhaps is also no longer possible – to differentiate between the lives we lead outside and inside the Internet (or our offline/online experience) and that our bodies and images in one space as well as in the other are inevitably intertwined. Helena Grande draws from the exhibition The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside and the conferences Documents, Constellations, Prospects to reflect on the influence of the notion of globalisation on forms of organisation and the loss of the “outside” as the idea of a system or independent space in the narratives derived from Californian counter-culture. José Manuel Bueso interrogates the rhizomatic space-time of the synchron-city. In an age of total geopolitical dislocation, how can one know what is North or what is South? And above all, in large metropolises like Bagdad, Paris, Río, or New Orleans, where is north and where is south? And how can countries establish themselves south-south (the so-called PIGS) after the crisis? Bueso asserts that neoliberal precariousness learns from the Black Jacobines who rose up on the plantations of Haiti.

Rafael Mateos takes advantage of the possibilities that Foucault sensed in La escritura de sí [Self Writing]: “The hypomnemata, in the technical sense, could be bookkeeping ledgers, public registers, individual notebooks, that serve as mnemonic aids.” [5]

In his text Hypomnemata for a contradiction to inhabit, Rafael goes out into the streets and reports minutely on the aesthetic and political events that we have experienced in the city of Madrid, asking himself about their untimely potency, that he links with their fragility, their fall into oblivion, and the importance of keeping their availability as supports for a future reflection that concerns all of us.

For their part, Carolina Mateo and Mijo Miquel address, from the specific project of the IV Conference of AACC Comboi a la Fresca, held in Valencia in 2011, the mode in which the recent social movements have initiated an emancipatory politics that favours the intensification of relationships between architects, sociologists, artists, and citizens, in order to reflect on the possibilities of an urban planning committed to thinking of the city from the position of the collective.

It seemed necessary to us to include the response of women artists to the white cube (one of the houses contained in this issue’s title) as a space of heteronormative patriarchal domination; the urgency of breaking the white cube open with other forms of making. In her article From the feminist upheaval to public art: the Far West of opportunities. An open dialogue with Suzanne Lacy, Elena García-Oliveros offers us a story of the encounter that the group Toxic Lesbian had with Suzanne Lazy on 6 May 2014.

This insistence on “between” as the theme of issue number 4 of Re-visiones [6] alludes to a play of words in line with a new section of this journal: a series of interviews with renowned woman thinkers with which the research group feels in tune with. A certain form of production of thought between two persons after all. Unsurprisingly, we have started with Susan Buck-Morss, one of the philosophers most quoted by those of us committed to the epistemological importance of images at the moment of re-writing hegemonic narratives. Her implication in ideas also related to the journal, such as the global common, her prejudices with respect to ontology, and her extraordinary comprehension of the political (and current) personality of Walter Benjamin have made her presence among us even more worthwhile.

The issue closes with two reviews, of Georges Didi-Huberman’s Pueblos expuestos, pueblos figurantes by Pablo Martínez, and of the book by Pilar Barreiro López and Julián Díaz Sánchez (eds.), Crítica(s) de arte. Discrepancias e hibridaciones de la Guerra Fría a la globalización by Jaime Vindel.


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Footnotes

[1Derrida (1972), La Diseminación, Madrid, Fundamentos, p.231 (engl.: J. Derrida (1981), Dissemination, The University of Chicago Press).

[2I borrow these words from Susan Buck-Morss, http://susanbuckmorss.info/text/commonist-ethics/

[3G. Deleuze (1990) ¿Qué es un dispositivo? In various authors, Michel Foucault, filósofo, Barcelona, Gedisa, p 155. (Engl. Deleuze, Gilles (1988). “What is a dispositif*?” In: Michel Foucault Philosopher, translated by Timothy J. Armstrong, pp. 159-168. New York: Routledge.

It can be found on http://www.scribd.com/doc/98113375/Deleuze-Gilles-What-is-a-Dispositif#scribd

[4I quote his own words in the cited text.

[5FOUCAULT, Michel (1990) “La escritura de sí”, in Abraham, T. Los senderos de Foucault, Nueva Visión, Buenos Aires. pp. 177- 178 (Engl: Foucault, Michel. “Self Writing.” (1997) Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth. New York: The New Press)

[6This number would not have been possible without the support of CA2M, EPO of our new research group “Visualidades críticas: reescritura de las narrativas a través de las imágenes”. (HAR2013-43016-P).

I am also grateful to the department of History of Art at the School of Fine Arts (UCM), which has financed the edition and translation of the interview with Susan Buck-Morss.